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in Advanced Technological Education

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Mentor-Connect Seeks Nominations for New Mentor Fellows Program

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Jim Hyder and Pamela Silvers were Mentor-Connect fellows during 2017, the pilot year of the ATE project.

Beginning in 2018, a few qualified members of the ATE Community will serve each year as Mentor Fellows. The individuals selected as Mentor Fellows will receive financial support and guidance as they engage in activities that prepare them to be Mentor-Connect mentors for potential ATE grantees.

The fellowship program is one facet of Mentor-Connect's regenerative leadership development effort. The main thrust of Mentor-Connect, an ATE project of the South Carolina Advanced Technological Education Center, is diversifying the two-year colleges and educators who obtain ATE grants. Mentor-Connect mentees are faculty from two-year, associate-degree-granting institutions that are eligible for Small Grants for Institutions New to ATE.

Mentor-Connect leaders plan to offer three fellowships during 2018 to individuals who are interested in eventually serving as Mentor-Connect mentors. Those selected as fellows will shadow experienced Mentor-Connect mentors as they guide two-year college educators through Mentor-Connect's nine-month process for preparing competitive proposals to the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education program.

Nominees must have three-to-five years of involvement in the ATE program and recommendations from two current ATE principal investigators or co-principal investigators in addition to the nomination from another member of the ATE community. Experience developing projects and writing grant proposals for the ATE program is a key qualification. Fellows receive a stipend of $1,750 plus travel support to attend two Mentor-Connect workshops.

The application and details about the fellowship opportunity are available at www.mentor-connect.org. Mentor Fellow applications are due by 11:59 p.m. EST, September 30, 2017.

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What Do Students Think of Guided Pathways?

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Based at the Teachers College of Columbia University, the Community College Research Center (CCRC) conducts research on the issues affecting community colleges and works with colleges and states to improve student success and institutional performance. In July 2017, the CCRC released a new ten page research brief titled What Do Students Think of Guided Pathways?. In this report, 149 students at the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) were interviewed about their experiences with a new guided pathway tool and how it has influenced their studies, their plans for the future, and whether or not it’s actually helping them stay on track in terms of their educational goals.

The use of guided pathways involves re-thinking academic programs and support services for students with four objectives in mind:

  • mapping pathways to student end-goals
  • helping students choose and enter a program pathway
  • keeping students on their pathway to completion
  • ensuring that students are learning throughout their programs
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Striving To Do Her Best for Her Daughter, Young Woman Steers Others to Manufacturing Careers

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Milliechel Ramirez said, “In manufacturing I can actually put my ideas to work.” (Photo Source: TRUMPF & Carey Manufacturing Inc.)

For Milliechel "Millie" Ramirez the fact that she was a teen-aged, single parent pushed her to return to community college and pursue a manufacturing career.

“I’ll be honest with you, many people think a child is a reason to quit. For me it is totally the opposite. For me a child is the best reason why you should keep going. It’s not your future now, it is about her or him. Everything you do in life, it will actually help your kid’s future. When it comes to going to college or anything,” Ramirez said during an interview at the 2017 High Impact Technology Exchange Conference (HI-TEC) in Salt Lake City.

Her excellent performance during an internship at Carey Manufacturing Inc., led to the company hiring her full time in 2015 when she completed a one-year manufacturing certificate from Asnuntuck Community College. Now 23 years old and a production supervisor at Carey, Ramirez was featured on the cover of The Fabricator magazine in July as an example of young women choosing manufacturing careers.

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Showcasing the Impact of ATE: The ATE Collaborative Outreach and Engagement Project

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Highlighting the valuable work of ATE is done through a variety of pathways within and beyond the community. And while most grantees include outreach and dissemination activities as part of their specific project or center goals, it’s also critical to capture and share out the aggregate impact of the program. As such, Internet Scout Research Group, home to ATE Central, is excited to share information about the ATE Collaborative Outreach and Engagement (ACOE) project that was funded this spring by the National Science Foundation (DUE #1723674). The project has three overarching goals:

  1. Inform stakeholders of the resources and services offered by the funded projects and centers in the ATE program,
  2. Support grantee outreach efforts by creating materials and resources they can easily adapt and integrate into their own work, and
  3. Facilitate collaboration and engagement within and beyond the ATE community.
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3 Friends & Their Employer Talk about Benefits of Photonics Career Pathways

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Laser-electro-optic technicians Davian Tevault, Tyler Dumbacher, and Ryland Plummer work in different parts of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Tevault and Dumbacher characterize and align the injection laser system at the National Ignition Facility. Plummer works in the test chamber pictured here.

Timing can be everything. And the success of three young graduates of Indian Hills Community College (IHCC) indicates its Laser and Optic Technology program is in sync with the ways teenagers think at key decision points.

Davian K. Tevault, Tyler Dumbacher, and Ryland Plummer landed in the introductory laser course at Columbia Area Career Center because it had openings, and other courses were already full when they scheduled their sophomore classes. They became friends while taking classes and residing in dorms at IHCC. After graduating with associate degrees in 2014, the three moved together to take jobs as laser-electro-optic technicians at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California.

The scheduling alignment was serendipitous for three guys who at the time had no postsecondary plans. However, the dual enrollment photonics program at their high school and IHCC's College Immersion Experience for juniors and seniors are the quite intentional results of National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education grants to the Midwest Photonics Education Center (MPEC) at IHCC and the National Center for Optics and Photonics Education (OP-TEC).

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5 Community College Resources You Should Be Sure to Bookmark

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At ATE Central, part of our goal is to help community members stay current with educational news, facts, and figures. Below is a selection of five resources we felt were worth a closer look. Whether you are looking for material to help as you write up a report, create an informative presentation, or if you just want to stay up-to-date about news, events, and opportunities central to community and technical college education, we hope you find this list helpful.

American Association of Community Colleges: DataPoints

From the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), DataPoints are a collection of printable snapshots on a range of topics, including degree completion rates, enrollment trends, student attitudes, and projected demographics of high school graduates over the next fifteen years. For instance, one recently published snapshot reveals how well students felt their experience in higher education prepared them for the workforce. Another DataPoint provides information about student completion rates for remedial coursework. Easy to read and attractively presented, these DataPoints offer a helpful resource for use in meetings, presentations, or even grant applications.

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CREATE Prepares Faculty to Meet Demand for Renewable Energy Technicians

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See http://www.createenergy.org/workshops.html for information about attending the STEM Educator Solar Institute at Madison College in July, or Shoreline Community College in August.

The Center for Renewable Energy Advanced Technical Education (CREATE) will have unique instructional opportunities with the installation of the largest solar energy system in Wisconsin at Madison Area Technical College (Madison College).

"It will be great because our students will be able to work on the installation itself [in 2018], and they will do the ongoing operations and maintenance over the next 20 to 30 years," said Kenneth A. Walz, CREATE's principal investigator and an instructor of chemistry and engineering at Madison College. The educators from across the country who attend the STEM Educator Solar Institute offered by CREATE, an Advanced Technological Education national support center, will also benefit from it.

With the growth of renewable energy jobs, CREATE added a second Solar Institute for summer 2017. There are still openings for the free three-day workshop in July at Madison College, and in August at Shoreline Community College in Shoreline, Washington. See http://www.createenergy.org/workshops.html for more information.

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The Difference One Semester Can Make

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Based at The University of Texas' College of Education, the Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCSSE) focuses on research related to student engagement at community and technical colleges.  Their deep commitment to improving educational quality and student success produces research data and reports that can and should inform the work being done by those of us in the ATE community. These include a number of initiatives that focus on qualitative research as well as various national reports, which are disseminated broadly to a wide variety of audiences including educators, education researchers and organizations, and the media.

A good example of the excellent work being done by the Center is a recent report titled Even One Semester:  Full-Time Enrollment and Student Success. This report explores data and correlations between levels of attendance, student experiences, and related issues like completion.   The report is a pleasure to read and is filled with graphics, quotes, and photos that help contextualize the data and ground the research in the reality of today’s community college environment.

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ATE Program Internship Leads to Four More for Hardworking Student

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Navneel Dutt and other Clark State Community College interns work through cybersecurity challenges during a Hack-a-Thon in the summer of 2016.

Navneel Dutt was unsure what Cathryn S. Balas meant last June when she told him and 11 other Clark State Community College students that their cybersecurity internships funded by a National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education grant would "open doors" for them.

By mid-summer Dutt had a better understanding of the opportunities that could come from his internship at AT&T Government Solutions. There he worked on a research project with two other Clark State interns and a high school teacher extern. He liked learning in a work environment so much that he applied for other internships. During the 2016-17 academic year he did three other paid, employer-sponsored internships while attending classes full time.

Four weeks after his May 6 graduation where he received two associate degrees—in cybersecurity and computer networking—Dutt will embark on his fifth internship in 12 months. This one at the prestigious Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, is the pinnacle of undergraduate work experiences. He hopes the 10-week internship at the Department of Energy lab will strengthen his resume and boost his prospects for landing a federal government job at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base when he returns home to Springfield, Ohio, in August.

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Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering Report from NSF

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Earlier this year, the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, a division of the National Science Foundation, released the 2017 Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering report. This formal report, now in the form of a digest, is issued every two years and examines the degree to which women, people with disabilities, and people who identify as black, Hispanic and American Indian or Alaska Native are underrepresented in Science and Engineering (S&E) education and employment. 

The digest is best read online, where an interactive format invites readers to explore trends in greater depth through detailed data tables and graphics. Technical notes and other online resources aid in interpreting the data. Data tables are also available as both PDFs or Excel files, allowing for easy viewing, printing or downloading for further analysis.

Key findings suggest that women have reached a state of relative parity with men in academic achievement, but not as part of the S&E workforce. As the digest indicates, since the late 1990s, women have earned about half of S&E bachelor's degrees. However, their representation varies widely by field, ranging from 70% in psychology to 18% in computer sciences, for example. In addition, at every educational level, underrepresented minority women earn a higher proportion of degrees than their male counterparts. White women, however, earn fewer degrees than their male counterparts.

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